West Brom boss Tony Pulis has told Irish international James McClean he must cool down ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The Derry man sparked ugly scenes against Watford, and Pulis wants him to control his temper following Albion’s Football Association charge.
McClean’s challenge on Watford’s Roberto Pereyra led to a melee between Baggies and Watford players in West Brom’s 3-1 win.
Pereyra was dismissed late on when he reacted angrily to a McClean challenge and both clubs were charged with failing to control their players by the FA.
Pulis wants McClean, who has been booked six times this season, to relax.
“I think James has got to control himself and he understands that,” he said.
“Sometimes he does live on the edge but that’s the player he is and the person he is.
“He’s a fantastic lad and he’s competitive — and you want him to be — but he’s got to realise there is a line that you draw and sometimes he goes very close to that line. Does it take stuff away from him?
“It might do, I’m not sure. But I’ve spoken to him quite a few times about getting too close to that line. As I keep saying, he’s a fantastic lad and a good lad around the place.
“The perception of him outside the club is different to what people inside the club who know him well think.”
Meanwhile, David Luiz must pass a fitness check on his left knee following the horror tackle from Sergio Aguero that Antonio Conte has branded “very dangerous”.
Aguero was sent off as Chelsea won 3-1 at the Etihad last weekend, to move three points clear at the top of the league. Conte immediately apologised after the clash for ugly final-whistle scenes as both sets of players clashed on the field — but only now has the Blues manager vented his true feelings on Aguero’s tackle.
“I have to check if David Luiz is able to play on Sunday because this tackle was very bad,” said Conte.
“And I have to check on his recovery from his injury. It will be very important for him and for me on Saturday to decide whether he can play on Sunday.
“That tackle was dangerous, for sure. I watched the images and I was afraid (he might be injured). I was scared.”
Chelsea hope Luiz can quickly shake off the left knee problem. “He’s trying to recover from this tackle,” said Conte. “It was only after I saw the replays, that’s when I saw this was very dangerous for David Luiz.”
Chelsea will gun for a ninth-straight Premier League win but Conte has refused to accept the Blues being installed as title favourites.
“It’s difficult to accept this, because I think we have played only 14 games, and to finish that first part of the season, there is the second part.
“We started as underdogs this season, and I think now it’s very difficult to accept this, but it’s normal if you’re playing good football and winning a lot of games. It’s important to continue, that from this win we don’t lose our hunger.”
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